Twenty points for you if you had "twisted catfish, pesudo-lesbian love affair" as the backstory of Netflix's newest miniseries, Clickbait. As the finale brought the series to a crashing close, the big backstory that unlocked the truth behind Nick Brewer's fate was as bizarre and uncanny as the series itself. And the series was batshit, to be blunt. But the final chapter of Clickbait is a special version of twisted that's so out of left field that we need to break it down a bit.
As viewers know, Clickbait dives into the world of internet virality, online dating, and of course, a good dose of catfishing. Adrien Grenier's Nick Brewer is kidnapped in episode one, doomed to be killed if a video of him reached five million views. Of course, a video of a hot guy admitting to hurting women, in the year of our Lord 2021, hit five million views real quick, and within a couple days, Nick is found dead.
In the most basic of terms, the initial premise is the melding of two episodes of Black Mirror—"Shut Up and Dance" and "Hated in the Nation," if you're interested—without the narrative payoff. That's because the end of Clickbait settles on a final chapter that follows Dawn Gleed, the administrative assistant who decides to use Nick Brewer's likeness and create a haphazard dating profile, using it to fill a void in her own life.
Naturally, as one does, Dawn uses Nick's profile to chat with a woman and start an online relationship with her. She uses the personal details that Nick has shared with her to deepen the conversation, saying that she only did it because she wants to feel as "wanted" as someone who looks like Nick does. The sentiment is understandable. It is Adrien Grenier, after all. But the means of getting there are increasingly unhinged. Of course, shit hits the fan when Dawn's husband finds out because what's worse than finding out that your 60-something wife is catfishing as a hot dude, talking to a hot woman? The internet! It's complicated!
If that revelation weren't enough, after Dawn shuts down the profile with this mystery woman named Emma, one of Dawn/Nick's online conquests kills herself. Then Nick gets kidnapped and murdered. Nick's son, Kai, starts putting the pieces together and knows that Dawn has something to do with his father's death. He heads over to Dawn's house to investigate and Dawn invites him in, despite him showing up with a baseball bat. They discuss why Kai came over and then Dawn and her husband Ed offer to drive him home, but instead, they put him in a car to go and kill him. Even with Dawn's involvement, that seems like a big jump, right? Not really...
In a flashback sequence, we see a bloodied Nick show up at Dawn's house. He wasn't killed. Just beaten up real bad by one of the women's brothers. But when Nick shows up to confront Dawn, it doesn't take long for her husband to show up and bludgeon him with a hammer. And listen, I'm not trying to justify what Dawn did, but maybe if my husband were going around smashing my computer with a hammer, making me read bad romance novels, and bopping my coworkers in the head with a ball-peen hammer, maybe I'd be unhappy too. Justification aside, there's the first big answer: Ed killed Nick Brewer, after seven episodes of insanity.
But that's just one piece of the puzzle. Desperate to escape, Ed holds Kai at gunpoint. He eventually releases the teenager, before he aims to shoot at the cops. A gunman snipes Ed down, and now Dawn is left to think about her decisions for the rest of her life. Alone. Because that's what happens when you catfish. Your husband gets killed and you end up alone.
And with that, Clickbait comes to a close. Was it worth all eight hours of watching?
Probably no. But please head Dawn's advice. Be yourself. Love you.
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